Opinions were split between the Nos. 22 and 78 pit stalls. Team Penske, with team owner Roger Penske watching live, was already sipping the champagne when driver Joey Logano bumped Martin Truex Jr. out of the race lead to win Sunday (Oct. 28) at Martinsville Speedway victory.
The other side, however, was livid with fury. Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing slid across the checkered flag in the third spot following the contact, with Truex calling Logano’s victory a “cheap move and a cheap win” threatening payback in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in three weeks.
Truex’s comments, however heat-of-the-moment, were not taken lightly from Logano’s team owner Penske, who was thrilled to see his driver win in such a fashion.
“[Truex] a racer and should know better than to say that,” Penske said. “That’s as clean a shot as you can have in a race like this. I didn’t hear Kyle Busch or the 42 [Kyle Larson] have any kind of conversation after [Chicagoland].
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s just a comment that I don’t think we deserve. We’ll race him day after day. Stirring some controversy that he’s trying to spread.”
Logano didn’t spin the No. 78 of Truex, which gave Penske the sign that the move was “fair and square” despite the bluntness of the contact.
“He didn’t knock him off the racetrack,” he said. “It was side-by-side racing at the end. You could see that. Nobody lifted. To me, I want to make sure people know my position. I thought it was fair, I thought it was square, and Joey deserved the win.”
For Penske, a spot in the Championship 4 will give the legendary team owner a shot at only his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title. And with Sunday’s win giving Logano a shot at his first premier title, Penske expected nothing less.
“To me, I’m really looking forward. We want to go to Miami,” he said. “Joey ran a great race. From my perspective, Joey drove a great race. The team won on pit road. You can see that, how many times he got out front. Leading the number of laps shows the job that Todd [Gordon, crew chief] and the team did. That’s my position.”
About the author
Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.
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